Back in 2007, I first wrote about those Chinese symbols in the image above. They spell “Ke ji feng gong.” This is an update to that older piece, because it seemed appropriate to raise it in the midst of our current political campaign.
It’s an ancient Chinese saying that means:
“Work Unselfishly for the Common Good.”
An alternate translation, but similar in intent, is
“Self-restraint and devotion to public duties; selfless dedication; to serve the public interest wholeheartedly.”
Typically in the translation of Chinese characters, the phrase has a multitude of shadings. It can also mean,
“Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service.”
I found another reference to it as “shared success.” It is sometimes written as “fèng gong kè ji.”
Regardless of which flavour appeals to you, it defines everything that I believe in about municipal political service: we are here to serve the public good; the greater good.
Every member of council should get this emblazoned on our desks, our computers, and our business cards to remind ourselves that our duty is to the greater good, not to serve friends, colleagues or whatever group you may belong to.
Maybe we should get one of the scrolls placed in our council room as an admonition, too.